Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, said, yesterday, it was concerned that increasing culture of vote-buying could have a negative impact on the 2019 general election.
The commission stated this on a day it expressed its preparedness to conduct a free, fair and credible governorship election in Osun State on September 22.
INEC National Commissioner in charge of Publicity, Mr. Adedeji Soyebi, who spoke during an interactive session with a coalition of Civil Society Organisations, in Abuja, equally disclosed that only 46 of the 91 political parties in Nigeria have indicated their interest to conduct primaries for the next general election.
He said there was need for attitudinal change among the political class, saying: “They have now realised that votes are begining to have value, that is why they engage agents to buy them.”
According to him, “if we desire to make any headway in our electoral process, this pay-as-you-vote culture must stop.”
Besides, the INEC Commissioner called for the establishment of an independent body that will have the responsibility of trying electoral offenders.
He said: “We don’t have capacity for arrest and prosecution. There is need for establishment of a separate body to try electoral offences.”
On his part, Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC, in Osun State, Mr. Olusegun Agbaje, disclosed that as at August 31, there were 483, 826 uncollected Permanent Voters Cards, PVCs, in the state ahead of the impending governorship poll.
He said a total number of 1,192,386 PVCs have so far been collected and equally solicited the assistance of CSOs in the country to curb the vote-buying syndrome.